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Major League Soccer stopped before it really got started this year. After each of its 26 teams played two games, the league shut down in March as the coronavirus spread. Now, MLS is back on the pitch. Instead of resuming its regular season, however, it’s in the midst of a month-long, World Cup-style tournament at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando, Florida. Inside the bubble in Florida, 25 of the 26 MLS teams will compete in group stage games and 16 will move on to the knockout stage before one is crowned champion of the MLS Is Back Tournament. 

Group stage games began on July 8, and the final is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 11. Here’s what you need to know to watch all 54 matches of the MLS tournament.

Why only 25 teams?

FC Dallas withdrew from the tournament after multiple players and coaches tested positive for COVID-19. Also, reigning MVP and star of LAFC Carlos Vela has opted out of playing.

What does the tournament schedule look like?

The MLS Is Back Tournament is a month long, featuring 54 matches across 26 match days.

  • The group stage goes for two weeks, from July 8 to July 23.
  • The knockout stage takes place from July 25 to July 28.
  • The quarterfinals run from July 30 to Aug. 1.
  • The semifinals are on Aug. 5 and 6.
  • The final is scheduled for Aug. 11.

How can I watch the MLS tournament on TV?

All 54 tournament matches will be broadcast nationally on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1 or TUDN. You’ll also be able to watch the matches on ESPN and ESPN2 in the ESPN app, the matches on Fox and FS1 in the Fox Sports app and the matches on TUDN in the TUDN app. Matches are evenly split between ESPN and Fox, but the final will be shown on ESPN.

US residents don’t need a cable or satellite TV subscription in order to watch the MLS tournament or to authenticate an account in order to stream the matches on ESPN’s or Fox’s apps. Most of the major live TV streaming services include ESPN, ESPN2, Fox and FS1, and you can use a live TV streaming subscription to log in to livestreams online. 

For the Spanish-language broadcast, FuboTV is the only live TV streaming service with TUDN. For the 10 matches that are broadcast on TUDN exclusively, you’ll be able to watch an English-language broadcast in the US on the @TUDNUSA Twitter page.

The catch for the matches on Fox is that not every service carries every local network, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries Fox in your area. If you live in an area with good reception, however, you can watch the matches shown on Fox for free just by attaching an affordable (under $30) indoor antenna to nearly any TV. 

Sling TV’s $30-a-month Blue plan includes Fox and FS1, and the $30-a-month Orange plan includes ESPN and ESPN2. The $45-a-month Orange + Blue plan includes all four channels. For the Enter your address here to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our Sling TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $55 a month and includes ESPN, ESPN2, Fox and FS1. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, and all allow you to cancel anytime. They also all require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our massive streaming services guide.


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source: cnet.com

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